A Few Bad Moments

Dec 30, 2016 | 2 comments

Actually, it was more like two-and-a-half hours of hell.  All that time of not knowing.  Had Nyel come through the cardioversion safely?  Was it successful?  Was he all right?  Why weren’t they telling me?  WHAT weren’t they telling me?  And, on top of all that – where was I?  And if I left the area, could I find my way back?

At 9:30 I had followed Nurse Margaret and transport people wheeling Nyel on a gurney at a fast clip.  Through a maze of halls, into a ‘service’ elevator, up or down I wasn’t clear.  Into the prep area where nurses busily checked his vital signs, wheeled monitors and other equipment into place, clipping and attaching wires to chest and arms and legs …

Nurse Margaret led me to a waiting room – down another hall and around a corner or two.  “The doctor will come to talk to you when he’s through.”  I wasn’t provided with a pager as had been all my previous experiences at Legacy Emanuel across town.  Just the promise of a doctor’s visit…

I was alone – the only one waiting.  Even the halls were empty.  The reading material was tired, uninteresting and smacked of far right politics which I tried not to wonder about.  An hour went by.  I worried.  Another hour.  People were beginning to straggle out of the doorways that led to who-knows-what.  Lunch time.  What was the matter?  Why so long?  Past cardioversions had been faster.  Much faster.

Finally, I called the front desk and asked for the nurse’s station just outside Nyel’s room.  Nurse Matt answered.  “Is Nyel Stevens back in his room?”

“I’ll see.  Hold on.”   So I held.  And held.  And held.  Finally, Nurse Margaret picked up.  “Are you waiting for something?” I told her, trying to hold back tears of fear and frustration. “Oh he’s fine.  Where are you?”

I think my response was less than measured.  Something like “How the hell do I know! You put me here!”

“I’ll come and get you.”

Nyel was sitting up in a chair eating lunch.  As the relief washed over me and the tears streamed forth, Nurse Margaret was saying, “We thought you had gone to get Nyel a really good cup of coffee.”

Say what?  “Oh, for Christ’s sake!” I blurted.  “I didn’t even know if he was alive!”

Bottom line – the doctor had been called to the phone just after Nyel’s (successful) procedure and promptly forgot all about me.  Nyel had told someone that he sure would like a good cup of coffee and when I didn’t “show up” the nurses all assumed I was out getting him one.  Matt-the-phone-answerer had to respond to a patient in distress and forgot I was hanging on the line.  A comedy (NOT!) of errors…

Profuse apologies.  They comped me a hospital lunch.  The doctor came and spent some quality time with us both.  Nyel is back in rhythm.  Heart and pacemaker in agreement.Eleven pounds of excess water have been drained away.  He is tolerating the new meds “okay.”

We are heading home today.  I’m hoping that my residual angst and anger melt away as the miles between us and home diminish.  It’s joy I want to feel – all the Christmas joy that we put on hold at four in the morning on Christmas Eve. Hallelujah!


  1. Linda J

    Hooray that Nyel is synched up, and you’re going home! So sorry to hear that you had to go through those hours of hell! As if you needed more stress. Bunny slipper time now.

  2. Maggie Stuckey

    Oh Sydney. What a nightmare. I’m so sorry that you had to go through all this. And so sorry I wasn’t there to lend a hand. This is exactly the time you need a pal with you, someone who can chase down information while you wait for The Doctor Who Never Comes.
    Jeez what a screwup. I don’t blame you for being angry; I’m furious on your behalf.
    But let’s focus on the good news. And very very good it is.


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